A few comments related to some previous posts here...
I own my own brand of watches, yet I still think of myself as someone who has a lot to learn about horology. I don't have to leave this thread to find people who know more than I do. Yet I still know more than the average or typical person reading a watch review online, and probably more than the person who wrote the review. But as much as I might know, I realize there is so much more, vastly more, that I do not yet know.
Likewise, I have read blog reviews and found erroneous assertions, or comments about a watch that simply don't make sense, or show clear bias. For instance, I've read criticisms about affordable watches, criticisms which could be equally levied against more expensive, often exalted watches, but the reviewer would NEVER criticize the legendary watch equally. Design elements considered genius in a high-end piece are cardinal sins when executed in something under $500.
I would not use that experience of mine, limited as it is, to suggest that all bloggers are biased/incompetent. I would suggest SOME are biased/incompetent, for whatever that's worth, but in order to recognize either bias or incompetence, one has to have sufficient knowledge of watches and reasoning ability.
I've been extremely fortunate that all of the reviews of my watches which have been published have been largely complimentary, some larger than others. I attribute that to a few things. One, the watches I send to be reviewed are good watches. Two, most of the people reviewing them know a good watch when they have one in hand. Three, even if they didn't like the watch, or something about the watch, they'd need to overweight their review with positive comments, not because I'm paying them to do so (I'm not), but if they trash my watch, I'm not likely to send more, and other brands might think twice as well.
That's not to say you can't find negative commentary, it's just to say you've got to recognize it when you see it, because it can be found. In two recent reviews of my watches, one reviewer made an offhand comment about not liking the brand logo, and the other criticized the bi-directional internal bezel:
Lew & Huey Acionna Watch Review | Watch It All About
The Lew & Huey Acionna, Take III | WristWatchReview.com
Overall, the reviews were positive, but one was distinctly more positive than the other. When it comes to watch reviews by bloggers, you have to read between the lines, and also read many of them, to distinguish the praise from the pans.
As a final comment, I'll admit that as good as I think my own watches are, I had one reviewer tell me, after having them long enough to do a review, he elected not to publish it, since he'd been moving his focus up-market, and my watches didn't hold up well by comparison. He gave me a couple of semi-specific complaints, none of which seemed "real" to me (in the sense that I'd not heard anything similar from anyone else, and couldn't identify the issues myself, or the issue was trivial, like an adhesive crown protector placed there by the factory being difficult to remove). Regardless, I thanked him for not publishing the review, since it sounded as if it might not have been positive on balance.
One last comment - no one wants to read a negative review. Imagine being into cars, motorcycles, watches, or whatever, and the magazine or blog you're reading reviews a watch (or car, or motorcycle) that everyone knows is a piece of crap. What's the point? Would you buy a car magazine with the new Suzuki Craptastic sedan on the cover, with a headline, "Craptastic Sedan - Even Worse than you Thought!"?
So if reviewers refuse to review the products no one likes, then what's left? Products they and most others *DO* like.
So in answer to the question in the OP, "Why aren't there more critical blog reviews?" The answer is many-fold:
1. Critical or not, sometimes blog reviews aren't worth reading (if you're looking for more than a superficial discussion of appearance and specs), depending on who wrote them, and that person's knowledge level, but more importantly, the knowledge level of the reader.
2. Most reviews are either very positive, or mostly positive with faint criticism. You have to be able to recognize the criticism when you read it (refer back to point one, knowledge level of the reader).
3. Nothing conspiratorial or lacking integrity, but in some cases, bloggers refuse to publish a bad review because readers don't want to read them.
Regarding the analogy of watches to cars - they're alike to the extent that they're both mechanical gadgets some guys are into. But the analogy breaks down when it comes to the discussion at hand - cars can be much more exhaustively reviewed than watches can be. With watches, you get aesthetics and function, the aesthetics being a matter of taste, and the function being limited to a few things worthy of discussion in a review. Even if you were to get into such watch-nerdy topics as "beat rate versus power reserve" as analogous to "horsepower vs torque" or "power vs handling", the discussion of the former topic is far less interesting, and to far fewer people, than either of the latter topics.
Chris "Who wants all reviews of his watches to be positive" Vail